The Many Flags/One Campus Foundation has received a grant to help develop courses.

The foundation announced it received a $25,000 grant from the Mainstream Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to be used to design and implement standards-based, dual credit courses in “STEM” subjects (science, technology, engineering and math).

These pilot courses will be used as prototypes for the integrated course offerings envisioned for the future Many Flags/One Campus model, according to its news release. The foundation will provide funding to Oceanside High School and Mid-Coast School of Technology to develop the pilot programs.

In addition to curriculum specialists and teachers from Oceanside and the vocational school, faculty and staff from the University College at Rockland, University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast, and Kennebec Valley Community College will be invited to provide input for the design of key course elements, syllabi and program assessments.

Loren Andrews, president of the Many Flags/One Campus Foundation, said, “We are very pleased to be able to provide these funds to Oceanside High School and the Mid-Coast School of Technology to develop the first tangible examples of how course development, teaching and integration of programs will occur in the new Many Flags/One Campus model.”

The pilot courses will be researched and developed by faculty and staff during school year 2011-2012 and they are planned for implementation in the selected STEM courses for the fall of 2012. Tom Forti, principal of Oceanside East, said, ”This is very exciting. These funds will allow us to develop and test out innovative teaching and learning methods in our classrooms right now.”

Beth Fisher, director of the Mid-Coast School of Technology, added, “The Mainstream Fund grant moves us one step closer to achieving the Many Flags goal. By designing and implementing collaborative courses now, we will be ready for full implementation when we are co-located on the Many Flags campus in the future.”

Neal Guyer, RSU 13 director of school Improvement, and Suzanne Hall, director of curriculum and assessment for the vocational school, with the assistance of consultants from the Great Schools Partnership, a school-support organization based in Portland, will assemble teams of teachers to begin the pilot program development process this fall.

Future funding

Alan Hinsey, executive director of the Many Flags/One Campus Foundation, said, “Now that the state Board of Education has officially selected Many Flags/One Campus as the integrated one campus model for Maine, the foundation wants to do all it can to secure the additional funds needed to assist RSU 13, Region 8 and our higher education partners with the extensive design and development work that will be required.”

This past spring, Gov. Paul LePage added special funding authority for the Many Flags project into his supplemental budget package. Those state funds, if appropriated by the next Legislature, could be made available for the Many Flags/One Campus project as early as fiscal year 2014 (which begins July 1, 2013).

“The special funding authority that the governor included in the state budget means that it is no longer a question of if Many Flags will become a reality – now the only question is when – and of course, we at the Many Flags Foundation think sooner is better,” Hinsey added.

Hinsey noted that even though the funding authority for the Many Flags/One Campus project is included in the state fiscal year 2014 budget, those funds must be specifically included in the next biennial budget by the governor and appropriated by the Legislature. “We know that there are many competing demands on the limited resources of the state, and we know that they are no guarantees that the Many Flags project will be funded in 2013. We just want to make sure we are doing all we can to demonstrate to the governor and the Legislature that we are ready, willing and able,” Hinsey said.

Steering committee work

A Steering Committee has been formed to begin drafting recommendations for policies to guide the governance, ownership and shared services for the Many Flags/One Campus model that will co-locate on one campus Oceanside High School, Mid-Coast School of Technology, a higher education center, with courses provided by University of Maine and Kennebec Valley Community College, and workforce training at Industry Centers of Excellence.

The Steering Committee comprises superintendents, chairmen and board members from RSU 13 (Oceanside), Region 8 (Mid-Coast School of Technology), School Administrative District 40 (Medomak Valley Hugh School), and the Five-Town Community School District (Camden Hills Regional High School). In addition, the Steering Committee includes representatives from the University College at Rockland, University of Maine Orono (Hutchinson Center) and Kennebec Valley Community College. The Steering Committee meets monthly. Once the draft recommendations are complete, the Steering Committee will submit them to all of the school boards and the University of Maine and Maine Community College offices for review, discussion, input and eventual approval.

The Steering Committee meets on the second Monday of each month from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Many Flags Foundation Office (313 Main St., Suite 200, Rockland). The public is invited to attend. Beginning in September 2011, the minutes of all Steering Committee meetings will be posted on the Many Flags website (www.mangflags.org) and a blog space will be provided for public comment and discussion.

Members join foundation board

Bill Reinhardt of St. George and Jeff Northgraves of South Thomaston have joined the Many Flags/One Campus Foundation Board of Directors. Hinsey said, “We are very pleased to have Bill and Jeff join our effort. Their experience, knowledge and commitment to excellence in education will help us advance the Many Flags/One Campus mission.”

Reinhardt is vice president of operations for George C. Hall Construction and serves as the chairman of the St. George Select Board.

“The St. George Select Board, and the new Municipal School Committee, feel that it is important for me to be on the Many Flags Foundation Board. It’s very important for St. George to be represented and supportive of this worthy endeavor,” Reinhardt said in the news release.

Northgraves is manager of the Knox County Regional Airport and serves as a selectman for South Thomaston.

“My fellow Select Board members also feel it’s important for South Thomaston to be represented on the Many Flags Foundation Board. As the manager of the airport, as a resident, and as a parent of children who have attended the local schools, I believe that the Many Flags model is just what we need. It will not only improve educational opportunities for all our kids, but also strengthen the economy of the entire Midcoast,” the release quotes Northgraves.

New office in Rockland

Hinsey also announced that the Many Flags/One Campus Foundation has opened an office at 313 Main St., Suite 200, on Main St. in Rockland.

“Our Board of Directors feels it is important for the Many Flags Foundation to have physical presence in the heart of the region now,” Hinsey stated. “We hope that by being more visible we’ll be able to secure more input from everyone in the region – students, parents, teachers, business owners – everyone.”

Hinsey added that the foundation is actively pursuing other grants and private funds that can be used to help Oceanside High School, Mid-Coast School of Technology, the University of Maine, and the Maine Community College System with the planning work that will make Many Flags a reality.